Some consumer products are so darn ubiquitous that we take them for granted. Take sunglasses, for example. When was the last time you gave any serious thought to them? If you are like most people, they rarely cross your mind. Unfortunately, the fact that we do not think a whole lot about sunglasses has led to quite a few misconceptions.
There is a lot more to sunglasses than meets the eye, so to speak, according to Salt Lake City-based Olympic Eyewear. They say there are four misconceptions more than capable of encouraging people to buy sunglasses they otherwise wouldn’t.
Misconception #1: Tint Equals UV Protection
The first misconception is that UV protection is accomplished by giving eyewear lenses a certain tint. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the tint has nothing to do with UV protection. It can help in other ways, but UV protection is accomplished by embedding a transparent layer inside a set of lenses.
The thing about UV rays is that they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Therefore, materials capable of filtering them out also do not have a color the eye can see. When you buy your next pair of shades, remember that tint has nothing to do with UV protection.
Misconception #2: All Sunglasses Offer UV Protection
UV protection is now the industry standard for sunglasses. But that doesn’t mean every pair offers it. As rare as it might be, it is still possible to find cheap sunglasses offering absolutely no UV protection at flea markets and discount stores. So how would you know? By looking at the label.
Labels attached to sunglasses should have a UV rating on them. More often than not, that rating will be somewhere between 300 and 400. The higher the rating, the more protection. A rating of 400 tells you that a pair of sunglasses block all UV rays.
Misconception #3: Polarization Is Better for Your Eyes
Next up is the misconception that polarized sunglasses are better for your eyes. It is not true. Polarization can definitely help you see better in certain circumstances, but it doesn’t offer any additional protection for your eyes. The two things that protect your eyes are UV filtering (for UV rays) and tint (for direct sunlight).
Polarization is added to sunglasses to help them filter out glare. Polarized sunglasses make a day of fishing more comfortable, for example. They make it easier to see on the ski slopes. But in terms of actually protecting your eyes, polarization doesn’t do anything for you.
Misconception #4: Luxury Brands Offer Better Quality
Last but not least, it is commonly assumed that the most expensive luxury brands offer better quality. That may be true when comparing such brands against cheap generic sunglasses made in China. But overall, quality is fairly consistent among all manufacturers throughout the industry.
You can actually purchase a high-quality pair of sunglasses for less than $100. If you know where to look, finding a very good pair for less than $50 is not out of the question either. So you can spend several hundred dollars on a luxury brand if you want to, just don’t assume you’re getting superior quality. You are probably not.
The eyewear industry is a prolific one. There are literally hundreds of designer brands just for sunglasses alone. That’s good because it means consumers have plenty of choices. As a consumer, do not allow yourself to be swayed by marketing hype and unsubstantiated claims. Learn the finer details of sunglasses rather than holding onto all those misconceptions. You will be better off for it.